22% say that 60% of their staff know their core values

translate values into behaviour

There is much talk these days about ethics, values, and corporate social responsibility – and rightly so. These are increasingly important subjects.

This is the sixth of 10 THOUGHTS addressing ethics, values, and CSR in marketing.

A 2018 study in the United States found that 90% of businesses have a clearly defined set of core values – things they believe in, core principles of doing business. This survey found that only 22% of organisations could claim that 60% or more of their employees knew these values. Some 29% of those with values reported that few, if any, staff members knew the values.

My experience throughout Australia, and especially in Western Australia, is that a much smaller percentage of businesses have documented values, far fewer employees know the values where they exist, and still fewer understand the implications of the values in terms of their day to day behaviour.
The fact is, values are of no value whatsoever if they are not reflected in day to day behaviour and  all customer interactions.

As discussed in an earlier blog in this series – values, ethical behaviour, and a commitment to corporate social responsibility are not real until they are demonstrated. Articulating your core values convinces no one. Consumers are justifiably cynical. They have heard it all before – as indeed you have. You don’t believe it until you see it, so why would your customer?

Demonstrating values, ethics, and corporate social responsibility requires the staff and everyone associated with the business to behave in a manner consistent with those values, ethics and corporate social responsibility. This, in turn, requires that every staff member knows what the values are, that they understand them and, most importantly, how their behaviour should reflect them.

So, ask yourself:

  • Have I explained our core values to every staff member?
  • Does every staff member understand our values?
  • Have we discussed the implications for individual behaviour?
  • Does every staff member know how they should behave?
  • Have we highlighted the importance of behaviour to the business?
  • Have we discussed the importance of behaviour with staff?
  • Is each and every staff member aware of what is in it for them?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, the chances are, your values, ethics and corporate social responsibility are not being adequately communicated to customers in a way that they will engage with and in a way that will drive sales, repeat sales, and referrals.


Establish your values. Communicate your values to your staff. Ensure thatbyour staff members understand EXACTLY how they should behave based on these values and ethical standards. Make sure your team communicates your values and ethical standards.

Remember that a brand is built from the inside out. The behaviour of your staff is the key driver of the brand. Live your values and behave ethically, and the market will embrace both.


Ashton, Nielsen, Business Dictionary, Business Bank of Texas, Digital Marketing Resource Centre, Smart Company, Forbes, American Management Association, Zenzi, Investopedia, Accounting Web, Reliable Plant, Fond, Gallup, Mintel 

MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

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